HANOI: Vietnam, virus-free for months, is bracing for another wave of COVID-19 infections on Wednesday (Jul 29) after state media reported new cases in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the Central Highlands linked to a recent outbreak in the central city of Danang.
Four new coronavirus infections were reported late on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 450, with no deaths.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the current wave of infections was different to a second wave Vietnam fought in March, and every province and city in the country was at risk, state broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) reported.
The new cases include one in the capital Hanoi. The person had recently returned from Danang, where the country last week detected its first locally transmitted infections in more than three months, the Ministry of Health said.
Online newspaper VnExpress had reported earlier in the day that a staff member at a Hanoi pizza restaurant who recently returned from Danang tested positive for the coronavirus. It added that authorities had locked down the restaurant and were disinfecting the premises.
The other three cases include one from the Central Highlands and two in Ho Chi Minh City.
Thanks to a centralised quarantine programme and an aggressive contact-tracing system, Vietnam had managed to keep its coronavirus tally to 450 cases, despite sharing a border with China.
With more than 95 million people, Vietnam is the most populous country in the world to have recorded no deaths from the virus, and until now no locally transmitted infections had been reported for months.
That record is now under threat following an outbreak last weekend in Danang, where tens of thousands of domestic tourists were vacationing thanks to discounted travel deals.
The government on Tuesday suspended all flights to and from Danang for 15 days. At least 30 cases of the novel coronavirus have been detected in or around the city.
About 18,000 tourists who had been in Danang have returned to the southern business hub Ho Chi Minh City, authorities said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Phuc said tourist hubs throughout the country had to step up vigilance, and that Danang must go under "strict lockdown", VTV said.